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Wednesday, September 02, 2015



Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Coalition For Westport Picks Three P&Z Candidates Image
CFW candidates: (l-r) Howard Lathrop, Glen Payne, and Denise Torve. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The Coalition for Westport (CFW), a minority party that touts responsible growth as its goal and favored senior housing on Baron’s South, today announced its candidates for the Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z) in November.

The candidates are: Denise Torve, CFW chairwoman, Glenn Payne, CFW deputy chairman, and Howard Lathrop, party treasurer. Lathrop, a Democrat, had previously served eight years on the P&Z (2005-2013).

Already, the town’s Democratic Town Committee has nominated Paul Lebowitz to run for the P&Z in the hope of winning a majority, which now stands at four Republicans and three Democrats.

The Republican Town Committee has nominated four P&Z incumbents—Chairman Chip Stephens, Vice Chairman Jack Whittle, Al Gratrix and Catherine Walsh—for reelection.

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Posted 05:07 PM
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Former State GOP Chair Gets Year in Kickback Case

By Mark Pazniokas

Connecticut’s former Republican state chairman, George Gallo, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Hartford to a year and a day in prison for taking kickbacks on campaign mailings he arranged as chief of staff to the state legislature’s House GOP caucus.

Judge Vanessa L. Bryant told Gallo he abused his state employment by accepting $117,000 from a Florida direct mail company, a sum equal to 10 percent of the business Gallo sent the company in the 2008, 2010 and 2012 campaign cycles.

“It siphoned public resources for personal gain, and it is a betrayal of the public trust,” Bryant said.

The mailings all were provided to candidates who accepted public financing under the Citizens Election Program, a reform passed in 2005 in response to the bid-rigging scandal that forced Gov. John G. Rowland from office in July 2004.

Click here for more of story

Posted 04:37 PM
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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Death Penalty Ruling Will Resonate in State Races

By Mark Pazniokas

By striking down Connecticut’s last vestige of capital punishment, the state Supreme Court today created an opportunity for politicians to use the death penalty as a wedge issue in races for the General Assembly in 2016.

The court’s 4-3 decision spares 11 men from death row, most notably Steven J. Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, the killers of a mother and her two daughters in 2007 during a home invasion in Cheshire, survived only by their husband and father, Dr. William Petit.

A repeal of the death penalty passed by legislators and signed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2012 was written with Cheshire in mind: It ended capital punishment only for future crimes, saving legislative supporters from an accusation they voted to spare Hayes and Komisarjevsky.

Republican opponents of repeal warned in 2012 that the death penalty for the 11 previously condemned prisoners was unlikely to survive if the state banned capital punishment going forward.

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Posted 06:45 PM
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Himes Supports Iran Nuclear Deal

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4) today announced his support for the Iran nuclear deal aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Image
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (pictured addressing the Westport Rotary Club on June 30) said the agreement offers “the possibility of a different and better outcome for the United States, Israel, and the rest of the world.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Using the formal name, a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Himes, a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said he has spent many hours evaluating the agreement. “After careful thought, I have decided to support the JCPOA,” he said.

“There are no perfect answers or easy solutions in the Middle East - only choices with varying levels of risk associated with them,” Himes said in a statement.

“International agreements with one’s foes are as fraught with potential pitfalls as they are with opportunity. The Iranian regime has shown itself to be untrustworthy and destabilizing.

“It is today a nuclear threshold state. The JCPOA offers something that no other alternative offers: the strong possibility of at least a 15-year period in which there is little or no risk that we are surprised by the test of an Iranian nuclear weapon. That possibility is a considerable improvement over the status quo.”

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Posted 02:19 PM
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Friday, July 31, 2015

Hartwell Steps Down as Dem Town Committee Chair Image
John Hartwell (l), chair of the Westport Democratic Town Committee, announced tonight at a Democratic potluck dinner at the Ned Dimes Marina at Compo Beach that he has stepped down to concentrate on his race for the Board of Finance. Taking over is Keith Stein (r), vice chair.  Hartwell said while he has enjoyed serving as town chair, there was a need now to focus on Democrats regaining control of the finance board. The other Democratic nominee for the board is Sheri Gordon, currently serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Incumbent Democrat Janis Collins is not seeking reelection.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Nicholas Pisarro, Jr. for

Posted 09:11 PM
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Few Surprises with DTC Nominations

By James Lomuscio

Tonight’s Democratic Town Committee (DTC) nominating convention for November’s elections went as expected with the slate announced Monday getting unanimous endorsements. Image
Nominated Democratic candidates tonight include (l-r) Mark Mathias, Michael Gordon, both Board of Education; Paul Liebowitz, Planning and Zoning Commssion, Sheri Gordon and John Hartwell, Board of Finance. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Board of Education Chairman Michael Gordon and member Mark Mathias, both incumbents, received resounding support after Mathias and Gordon nominated each other.

“He’s fiscally savvy, but he puts the needs of students first,” Mathias said of Gordon, adding that the one of the challenges the board will face this year is hiring a new superintendent for the first time in 17 years.

When Gordon nominated Mathias, who has already served three four-year terms, he said that his colleague “sets the bar high for everyone on the board.”

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Posted 10:38 PM
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Dems List Candidates Prior to Tuesday’s Nominations

By James Lomuscio Image
John Hartwell: DTC head will seek finance seat. Contributed photo

John Hartwell, chairman of Westport’s Democratic Town Committee (DTC), tonight announced the slate of November’s candidates that the party plans to nominate for town boards and commissions Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Room 201 at Town Hall.

“There will be no surprises,” he said about the expected nominations following tonight’s announcement.

The party will put up Hartwell and Sheri Gordon, currently a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for the Board of Finance. Incumbent Janis Colllins is not seeking reelection.

“I think there are a lot of interesting and important things going on right now, including Downtown Steering Committee’s Downtown Master Plan and the transportation initiative to get more people to use public transportation,” Hartwell said about his decision to run.

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Posted 09:59 PM
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Petitions Available for RTM Candidates

Westport Town Clerk Patty Strauss announced today that residents interested in running for the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) can pick up a petition at the Town Clerk’s office, located in room 105 of Town Hall.

Petitioners must gather 25 signatures from residents in their district to qualify to place their name on the ballot Nov. 3.

The completed petitions must be returned to the Town Clerk by Sept. 8.

“My staff will review the full petition packet with the petitioner,” said Strauss. “A district map and a list of district voters will be supplied to aid each petitioner in gathering the required signatures.”

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Posted 04:29 PM
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Republicans Nominate November Slate Image
The Westport Republican Town Committee (RTC) tonight nominated its slate for the November municipal elections. Among those receiving a unanimous endorsement were Board of Finance candidates (l-r) Michael Rea, an incumbent, newcomer Iain Bruce, and Clarissa Moore, who currently serves on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). John Pincavage and Tom Lasersohn are not seeking re-election. Other endorsements, all incumbents, include Paul Block for Board of Education; Al Gratrix, Chip Stephens, Cathy Walsh, and Jack Whittle, for the Planning and Zoning Commission; Bill Harris for Zoning Board of Appeals, and Garson Heller for Board of Assessment Appeals. Elizabeth Wong is not seeking re-election on the Board of Zoning Appeals. The RTC is also currently interviewing candidates for two additional Board of Zoning Appeals positions. The RTC nominated two placeholder candidates for the Board of Zoning Appeals while interviews are ongoing. Westport Democrats will select their candidates on Tuesday, July 28. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 10:03 PM
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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

State’s $40.3 Billion Budget Tops Legislative Wrap Up

By James Lomuscio

The $40.3 billion state budget voted against by five area legislators—four Republicans and one Democrat—was a main topic discussed by them at today’s Westport Library “Legislative Wrap Up.” Image
Five area legislators took part in today’s legislative forum at the Westport Library. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Also hot topics were what was described as overbearing tax hikes and ways to stop Connecticut’s business bloodletting.

Co-sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) and the Hartford-based Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), the forum featured Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28), Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26), Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-136), Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143), and Rep. John Shaban (R-135).

“None of you voted for it, but the budget passed,” said WWCC Executive Director and President Matthew Mandell, who emceed the event. “What happened?”

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Posted 03:18 PM
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Idaho Group Uses WN Photo to Sell $95M Tax Hike Image
This image posted by an Idaho political group is a cropped version of a photo posted on WestportNow on July 11, 2013. Contributed photo

A 2013 WestportNow photo of a road sign saying “bridge out” was used by an Idaho political group in a Tweet to sell a $95 million tax increase, according to an Idaho watchdog group.

In a story on, the website showed how a 2013 photo of signs warning that the Bayberry Lane Extension bridge was closed for repairs was cropped by the Better Idaho group to show only a sign that said “bridge out.”

“Derek Farr, Better Idaho’s editor, declined to discuss the deceptive graphic,” the website said.

It said Idaho lawmakers hiked taxes on drivers and workers July 1, boosting the gas tax 7 cents a gallon, plus adding $21 a year to car registration costs.

Posted 01:58 PM
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Dora Stuttman, 90, Westport Democratic Stalwart Image
UPDATE (adds arrangements) Dora Stuttman (c), an influential figure in the Westport Democratic Town Committee for decades, died July 6. She was 90. Westport Democrats honored her last October with establishment of the Dora Stuttman Campaign Leadership Award in recognition of her formidable organizational abilities, which led to many party victories. She is pictured with Martha Aasen (l), who was also honored for her party service, and former First Selectman Diane Farrell, whose political campaigns were led by Suttman. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, July 9 at 11 a.m. at Abraham L. Green & Son, 55 Beach Road, Fairfield, with interment to follow at Willowbrook Cemetery, 395 N. Main St., Westport. (See obituary here) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Posted 09:39 AM
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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Newlyweds Walking in the Moonlight Image
Former state Senate minority leader John McKinney of Fairfield and his new bride, Kristen Fox of Westport, take a moonlight walk along Soundview Drive tonight at Compo Beach. The two were married Saturday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for

Posted 09:47 PM
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Malloy Signs, Then Promotes, Newly Tweaked Budget

By Mark Pazniokas and Keith M. Phaneuf

The rocky path to a fiscal plan for the next two years ended Tuesday with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signing the budget adopted June 3 in the closing minutes of the 2015 session — and tax rollbacks passed earlier Tuesday in special session to quell an outcry from business interests. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signs the budget bills in Hartford today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

“Massachusetts doesn’t have a budget. Maine doesn’t have a budget. Illinois doesn’t have a budget. New Hampshire doesn’t have a budget,” Malloy said after signing the documents at a ceremony attended by the legislature’s top leaders and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. “We got a budget.”

The budget includes tax increases that violate a pledge the Democratic governor made during last fall’s close re-election campaign, and its passage exposes Democratic legislators in swing districts to attacks as they seek re-election in 2016, a campaign that the GOP already is waging.

Malloy did not directly answer a question about how he can reconcile the budget he signed with his campaign pledge. Instead, he said the GOP offered no practical alternative.

Click here for more of story

Posted 03:12 PM
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Himes Opposes U.S. ‘Locking Down’ Mideast Chaos

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes said today he does not back an increased U.S. military presence in Iraq and “will not support the role of the United States locking down chaos in the Middle East.” Image
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes addresses today’s Westport Rotary Club meeting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Addressing the weekly meeting of the Westport Rotary Club, Himes said the United States must be very skeptical about creep in U.S. military commitment in the region.

He said the 1,200-year-old history of Middle East conflicts make defining long-term U.S. strategy in the area difficult.

While the United States has achieved victories in removing Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi from power and killing Taliban leaders, he added: “We’re not very good at the next day.”

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Posted 02:40 PM
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